SpaceX simply fired up its newest Starship prototype, maintaining the car on monitor for a high-altitude take a look at flight this week.
The three Raptor engines of Starship SN11 (“Serial No. 11”) ignited briefly as we speak (March 22) at 9:56 a.m. EDT (1356 GMT) throughout a static fireplace take a look at at SpaceX’s South Texas services, close to the Gulf Coast village of Boca Chica.
Static fireplace exams, throughout which engines are lit whereas a car stays anchored to the bottom, are a regular preflight checkout for SpaceX rockets. SN11’s upcoming flight will take the stainless steel car to a most altitude of about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). That uncrewed jaunt might occur as early as Wednesday (March 24), in line with scheduled road closures in the Boca Chica area.
Starship and Tremendous Heavy: SpaceX’s Mars-colonizing vehicles in images
SpaceX is growing Starship to hold individuals and cargo to the moon, Mars and different distant locations. The structure consists of two reusable parts — a 165-foot-tall (50 meters) spacecraft referred to as Starship and an enormous first-stage booster generally known as Tremendous Heavy. Each automobiles will likely be powered by Raptor engines — six for Starship and about 30 for Tremendous Heavy.
Three Starship prototypes have already taken to the skies on high-altitude take a look at flights in the previous few months. SN8 and SN9 carried out very nicely till landing, exploding once they hit the touchdown pad. SN10, which flew on March three, did even higher: The prototype landed in one piece but exploded about eight minutes later.
SpaceX will quickly begin placing Tremendous Heavy by way of its paces as nicely. Final week, firm founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the first-ever Super Heavy, which he described as a “manufacturing pathfinder.” The subsequent Tremendous Heavy that SpaceX builds will truly fly, the billionaire entrepreneur stated.
We should always count on a number of Starship and Tremendous Heavy exams within the coming weeks and months. Musk lately stated that SpaceX goals to launch an orbital take a look at flight with Starship this 12 months, and that he expects the spaceship-rocket duo to be fully operational by 2023.
SpaceX first tried to mild up Starship SN11 final Monday (March 15), however that static fireplace try was aborted.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a guide in regards to the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Fb.